Word on the street is that dear old Scotland is having another go at independence.
Now, now, no need to get those feathers riled up! This is not a political post. I mean the tags are a dead giveaway, but I guess some people tend to ignore them. It’s ok, though. I get it. I do it, too.
This collaboration is really just the two of us reminiscing about our very first trip together to the closest English-speaking, adventurous place affordable to broke-ass college students. There are also tips for future broke-ass college students that might want an escape from Brexit, Scottish Independence, a (possibly) united Ireland, Donald Trump, or just Life™ clogging everybody’s passageways. While the Isle of Arran isn’t exactly the ultimate secluded paradise, for us it was a great break from university and from the crowded streets of London, not to mention that the cost of it didn’t lead to starvation afterwards!
(You may click here for more information on how to get there, transportation, and lodging.)
The one thing I must say is that Arran might not be a suitable destination for you party animals, as the one thing it’s absolutely not popular for is its (non-existent) nightlife. It’s a very small island of roughly 5,000 inhabitants, of which the majority are families and senior citizens. I know of only one pub on the island but as far as I could tell it’s not one of those loud, rowdy ones you might’ve come across in the city. That being said, there are many other fun things to do so you can still say you’ve had a great weekend. You can hike, for instance! Your legs might not thank you for it but your liver certainly will and you won’t feel bad about skipping the gym for a few days, or not really going to one in the first place.
Shh, it’s ok. We’re not judging, I promise.
On our first night we grabbed a map and marked all the places we would go to in the duration of our three day visit. The first and closest to us was Glenashdale falls in Whiting Bay.
Pretty nice, yea? Now you might expect the rest of this post to be filled with cheesy, filtered, feel-good load of shit about detoxicating the body and mind and spirit and encountering a unicorn on the way, and if that is truly what you want then I must ask you to skip the following written parts and focus on the pictures instead because let’s be real. We’re talking about two broke-ass college students that lived off pizza, ice cream, and instant ramen for the longest time. Definitely not the poster child (children?) for healthy living and stamina! However if you’re here hoping for something new then buckle up and enjoy the ride because I’ve got a story to tell! It is one of suspense, friendship, tragedy, and a hero in the form of an abandoned, moss-covered stick.
Our story begins early in the morning. Bahja got sick. To this day no one knows how or why, but she just did, and when Bahja gets sick she teeters on the edge of life and death. I could sense that there were dark forces at play, but we only had three days and an entire island to explore, so like the good friend I am I stuffed her with a hearty, protein-packed breakfast and dragged her out with me and into the unknown.
Glenashdale Falls wasn’t too far from where we were, but we still had to make many stops along the way mostly because we felt lost and too nervous to venture on with no proper signal before double and triple checking the map. At one point we turned into total creeps and stalked a random couple and then a guy with his dog who seemed to be going the same way. I don’t know why we didn’t just stop them and ask for directions. Stalking them instead somehow made more sense at the time, and they didn’t seem to notice but I hope to god that they weren’t being as awkward as we were and just trying to play it cool.
Sometimes we stopped because we saw weird shit that was there for no plausible reason.
Of course let’s not forget the beautiful scenery Scotland is known for.
Bahja’s lifespan was shortening the higher up we went. The falls were beckoning, but she was coughing and wheezing. We were making far too many stops. I suggested we go back and try another day, but she insisted that we continue on our path. There was a fire blazing in her eyes, a great determination to reach our destination no matter the obstacle!
Or it might’ve been her soul leaving her body, I couldn’t tell.
I also may or may not have teased her for quitting, being the fantastically great friend that I am.
Look, the point is she survived to tell the tale and she’s got the pictures to prove it.
And help did come to us when we needed it. Not from Hogwarts or Dumbledore, because apparently that only happens when you’re fighting a dark wizard, but it came to us nonetheless from a more humbler source. Remember the moss-covered stick I mentioned earlier?
We found this beauty tangled in vines. It was thick and tall and sturdy. It was exactly the thing Bahja needed to help her hike the rest of the way up. We honoured it with a name like no other: the Bitchstick.
Ah yes, I almost forgot the tragic part of the story. Remember the guy with the dog I mentioned earlier, the one we stalked? We lost him trying to act natural and not at all like the total creeps we truly are. His dog was cute and ultra fluffy and I never got to pet it.